Meditation has been a widespread practice for millennia and has many benefits for the mind and soul. But have you ever heard of writing meditation?
In this article, we’ll discuss a less well-known practice that provides an alternative for those who wish to try meditation but who perhaps struggle with calming their mind with traditional meditative practices.
Writing meditation is one form of meditation that differs somewhat from the traditional way of sitting down and focusing one’s thoughts on our breath. Let’s dive into this practice and find out more about it.
As we have discussed, traditional meditation focuses on our breathing or on an object of our choosing.
With writing meditation, you guessed it; the focus is on writing. The idea is to write freely, without overthinking, for a set amount of time. What you write doesn’t need to make sense or follow any sort of logical order. It doesn’t need to be free of grammar or spelling errors. It doesn’t need to be ‘good’. In fact, it doesn’t need to be anything. And that’s the beauty of it.
No one will ever read what you write during your writing meditations (unless you want them to), so this completely removes the need for it to meet a certain standard.
So no, you do not need to be a good writer to do this!
The topic can be different every day, or you can do this without using a topic at all. Writing prompts can be helpful to get you started on days when you can’t seem to put pen to paper.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do a writing meditation. Remember, though, that like with traditional meditation, there are many ways to do a writing meditation, and most importantly, there is no way you can do it wrong! So take the following suggestions lightly and adjust where you need to.
That’s it! There you have it. Piece of cake, right?
As with traditional meditation, there’s no way to do it wrong. In fact, the only way to do it wrong is to berate yourself for doing it wrong.
The process described above is known as ‘stream of consciousness’ writing. This means there’s no prompt or direction in your writing. You’re just writing what goes through your mind.
You could also use prompts, which are handy if you’ve got writer’s block. Prompts give you a topic to write about, so they help you get started. Only that beginning part is different, though. The rest of the process is the same. See below for some writing prompt ideas.
With writing meditation, you have two choices: you could either write on a piece of paper with a pen or you could type on your computer, your tablet, or your phone. So which one should you opt for?
There are advantages to both.
Typing, of course, is faster. It will therefore allow you to more easily get all your thoughts out onto the paper (screen) before your mind wanders and you forget what you were about to write. For ‘stream of consciousness’ writing, this can be very beneficial. It will help ensure you get all your thoughts out on paper before you get distracted or your hand starts hurting.
However, there are clear advantages to good old handwriting:
So, if you’re one of those people who hasn’t had a pen in their hand since their school days, it’s time to head to the store and get stocked up on stationery!
Now that you’ve learned about the benefits of traditional meditation and writing meditation and that you’re familiar with the step-by-step, you might be thinking - why not use plain and simple meditation? Why bring writing into the mix?
There are several answers to that question.
The first is that using writing as a meditation technique gives your mind something to focus on. When one first starts to meditate, the mind gets distracted very easily. Having something to do while meditating helps the mind stay focused.
Don’t get us wrong, your mind will probably still wander off at times, so you’d do best to expect that, but having the writing to bring your mind back to is helpful.
That’s why writing meditation is great for whoever is new to meditation.
It’s also great because you get that feeling of having emptied your mind afterward. You’ve got everything down on paper, so it’s no longer in you, so its power has been taken away.
Writing meditation is also a fantastic way to hone your craft if you’re a writer or want to get into the habit of writing more.
If you’re interested in the ‘stream of consciousness’ writing meditation tool and have decided you’d like to try some prompts, let us help you out. Please find below some prompt ideas to get you started. Try a different one every day this week and see how you fare.
Before we conclude this article, there are a few other things we thought you might be interested in hearing about.
Firstly, did you know that there are many other types of meditation than those mentioned in this article?
That’s because meditation is what you make it.
Are you practicing mindfulness? Are you bringing your mind into the present moment? Are you focusing your thoughts? If so, then you are meditating, friend!
Here are some common ways to meditate:
As well as meditation, there are other helpful well-being practices, including ones that involve mindfulness, as does meditation. Here are some of our favorites.
Mindful eating is a way to slow down when we’re eating in order to truly appreciate our food. The idea is to bring our attention to the flavors, smells, and food's warmth going down our throats and bellies.
This practice is often recommended to those with certain eating disorders as it helps them bring their awareness to the eating process and slow down, which in turn would help them be more aware of their fullness cues.
Yoga is not only great for the body in that it gets you moving, stretching, and strengthening, it’s also great for the mind as it is a mindful practice.
The slow-paced nature of the movements keeps you in the present moment, and the slightly heightened level of difficulty ensures that your mind can only focus on what your body is doing.
Did you know most of us don’t breathe correctly? Our breaths are shallow, and we don’t direct the air to the right places. Breathwork is the practice of conscious breathing, as it brings awareness to the breath so that we may breathe intentionally.
Different patterns of breath can create different reactions in the body, which is what breathwork does. With the right breath, you can get your body more energized, your mind more focused, or even prepare yourself for diving into freezing water, as popularized by the famous Wim Hof Method.
How many times have you been reading a book, realized you have no idea what you just read, and had to go back three pages to re-read the passage? Reading is a true exercise in focus.
Practicing getting in the zone can help you, in the same way as meditation, practice taming your mind to focus on the task at hand. In this case, getting through your book!
We could showcase many more practices here, but we think this will give you plenty to explore, so we will leave it at this for now.
We hope that you have found this article on writing meditation useful and that it answered any questions you had about the practice. Are you going to give writing meditation a go? We definitely recommend you try it. What have you got to lose?